Publisher: Egmont Books
Published: 2nd August 2010
Number of Pages: 304
Book: Borrowed From The Library
Genre: Dystopia, Psychological Thriller, Sci-Fi, Speculative Fiction, Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Nothing Really Unsuitable
No Alcohol, Drug References
My name is Oscar and I am the perfect teenager. My girlfriend is the hottest girl in school. I get straight As. I am class president. But there is a terrible reason I am so perfect: the Messages. Oscar Banks lives in the pristine town of Candor. Son of the mayor, he is good-looking, smart and popular. And he knows something he's not supposed to - he knows about the brainwashing Messages embedded in the music that plays all over the town. But Oscar has found a way to burn counter-Messages that keep him real. Up to now, it's all worked perfectly. There's just one problem: Nia Silva, the newest Candor arrival. What will Oscar risk to keep the Nia he loves rather than watch her become a Candor automaton? Deeply chilling, "Candor" is a psychological thriller that will haunt readers with its vision of a world controlled by something worse than Big Brother.
I picked up Candor, meaning to just read a chapter or two: it was about one in the morning, and I was tired. The problem: I simply could not put it down! It was almost as if the messages were inside my own head, saying, ‘Don’t stop. Keep reading. Great readers never stop.’ Candor was just so addictive. I was up until three, and finished the book in just a matter of sittings.
Candor, the town, was really creepy. It’s the place where rich parents take their problem children to become ‘fixed’. What the children aren’t told is that the music that plays all around town contains hidden messages that mould them into perfect little sons or daughters. All day long, all around ‘respectful space in every place’, ‘always strive to make your parents proud’, ‘studying is your top priority’, ‘the great are never late’. Without their knowledge, in a week or two, they have lost all their free will. It’s inevitable, “Nobody escapes the messages”. Oscar’s different. And not just because he’s the founder’s son. He’s different because he knows. He knows about the messages – he can even hear them in his head, rather than them being sent straight to his subconscious. And, he can fight them, he can make his own. He gets kids out. It’s risky, yes, but he’s always careful. He never gets caught.
Until Nia skateboards into his life with spray-paint in her hand. Suddenly, his world’s different, and instead of wanting to get her out, he wants to keep her the same. But just how far will Oscar go to keep the Nia he knows and loves?
Oscar was a great male lead, probably because he wasn’t perfect. I liked that he fought back and that he found a way to make his brain belong to him. Yes, he was reckless and occasionally a jerk, but when he spoke of everything he’d lost in his life, and everything his own father had done to him, it killed me a little inside. Oscar was just one of those characters I genuinely came to care for.
Nia was brilliant too: one of those classic literary rich-girls-lashing-out. She did literally everything imaginable that her parents didn’t want her to do. But underneath, she was a sweet girl, with a great sense of humour and I came to really like her too.
Candor was one of those books that gripped me from the word go, and had me smiling, laughing, in shock and screaming at it. I struggled to put it down. I’m crossing all my fingers, hoping for a sequel, because I did not like how it ended. Hence the screaming.
Overall, a story with amazing characters and a beautiful lovestory, with a chilling psychological thriller hidden underneath. Big Brother truly has nothing on Candor.
4½ Out of 5
4½ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
Gone by Michael Grant
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